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March 9, 2017

Clarifai Featured Hack: Spectrum Navigator Is A GPS App That Helps People Navigate By Landmark

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Spectrum Navigator is a GPS app aimed at improving the lives of the autistic community through visually-oriented navigation. Navigating by landmark is a more intuitive process than the traditional methods of text, number, and diagram-based alternatives.

Navigating can be a challenge for anyone, but it can be especially difficult for those in the autistic community. Unfamiliar territory and non-intuitive navigation tools can be a stressful combination. Research has shown that visual supports work well as a way to communicate with children and adults on the autism spectrum. That’s where Spectrum Navigator can help!

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Spectrum Navigator is a GPS app that pulls Google Street View images off a calculated route and then uses Clarifai’s image recognition API to identify specific landmarks associated with waypoints. It then uses this data to present a more human-centric and visually-oriented means of navigation.

We love apps that can help people explore the world around them in new and better ways. Spectrum Navigator is not only a useful and innovative app, it’s also an example of one of the more technically challenging hacks we’ve featured. Check out the code in the GitHub repo!

We caught up with Austin Lubetkin, hacker and artist, to talk about his inspiration for Spectrum Navigator.

Clarifai: What inspired your idea for Spectrum Navigator?
Austin: I’m on the autism spectrum and it is a very common challenge to have trouble navigating. I thought about the interactions I’ve had with my mother where she has helped me navigate by talking about landmarks and I decided I wanted to make a web-app that improved upon its text, number, and abstract diagram based alternatives.

How did you build the app?
HTML, JavaScript, jQuery.  There are three API integrations occurring with Google Maps, Google StreetView, and Clarifai.  There were some issues making integrating calls from one API to the next, such as sending Clarifai images from secure Google API calls, so we ended up downloading and storing the images used for training as base64 byte data that would be uploaded in the API call.

What was the best part about working with the Clarifai API?
Clarifai was a really approachable solution for the AI elements we needed in our project. It had a really dynamic interface and was surprisingly accurate when we needed it to be.

Thanks for sharing, Austin!

To learn more, check out our documentation and sign-up for a free Clarifai account to start using our API – all it takes is three lines of code to get up and running! We’re super excited to share all the cool things built by our developer community, so don’t forget to tweet @Clarifai to show us your apps.
And give Austin some props in the comments below. Until next time!

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